Prescribed burns help lumber industry, not forests

Published 11:04 am Thursday, November 20, 2008

This letter is in regards to the 400-acre Youngs Branch prescribed burn. The Buckeye Forest Council has long opposed these burns in our public forests.

The U.S. Forest Service and Ohio Division Of Forestry continue using claims of burning debris and fallen trees as the reason for these destructive activities, as if we live in the west where there is real danger of massive forest fires and loss of lives and property.

Here, they degrade our public forests with thousands of acres of burns and are now doing it so indiscriminatly that it appears nothing can stop them. The underlying reason these burns are being done is to force a mono-culture of oak trees which can feed the local lumbering industries.

Email newsletter signup

The burns however are the actual threat to human lives and the health and well being of Ohioans who live adjacent to our public forests being burnt. Many of the counties in which burns have occured or are planned are already in “non-attainment” status defined by USEPA. This means that the air in these counties is already dirtier than what is allowed by the EPA.

Ohioans who suffer from respiratory ailments are routinely told to stay inside when the burns occur.

Why in the world, in these days of recognition that our climate is changing as the result of human activity, such as the release of more carbon into the atmosphere, are we allowing our pubic employees to burn our forests?

You can help. Local citizens should write to Gov. Strickland asking him to stop the burning in our state forests and your federal Congressperson asking him or her to stop these activities in our Wayne National Forest.

Remember what Smokey says: “Only you can prevent forest fires.” For more info go to

David Maywhoor

Executive Director

Buckeye Forest Council